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The Best and Worst of WWE Raw 7/25

By 07.26.11

Best: Dolph Ziggler

You don’t need me to tell you this, but Dolph Ziggler is the important, destructive Anti-Monitor to John Morrison’s heroic, crappy-looking big-headed Monitor. Ziggler is doing what pro wrestlers should do — he’s making everything he does seem important. When he wins the United States Championship, he treats it like an honor, not just as a thing he wears when he comes out to pin Carlito. When he gets a t-shirt and a song that says “I am perfection” over and over, he adopts that as his gimmick, and instead of just saying “I am perfection” a bunch of times like a lesser wrestler would do, he says WHY he’s perfection. Do you see that subtle difference? A guy in an “I am perfection” shirt sucks if he smirks and says “I am perfection”, but he’s awesome if he holds up the title and screams THIS. STAYS. WITH. ME. after he’s kicked somebody’s ass.

That’s the trap Alex Riley fell into. He started getting a following when he showed up and beat the sh** out of The Miz, but when he had to talk and couldn’t really deliver an ass-whomping outside of tackling and punching, people lost interest. Ziggler can’t fall into that, because he can do everything. Except properly bump on a trampoline, but that’s water under the bridge.

Worst: Dolph Ziggler Only Has Four Opponents

You guys know me well enough by now, don’t you? When Ziggler’s music hit I started saying “please be in a suit, please be in a suit” because I didn’t want it to be a match. When he stepped out in his gear it changed to “be Evan Bourne, don’t be Kofi Kingston. Be Evan Bourne, don’t be Kofi Kingston”. This presents two huge problems:

1) If Kofi Kingston wrestles Dolph Ziggler again, so help me God I will kill myself.
2) Dolph Ziggler only has four possible opponents: Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne, John Cena, Rey Mysterio.

Now, if Ziggler faces Cena or Mysterio, he loses. Always. So with his recent U.S. Championship victory and winning streak going you can’t put him in there against someone who’ll beat him, especially not Cena, and Mysterio is already involved in the WWE Championship tournament. So that adds a modifier to problem 2:

2b) Dolph Ziggler only has two probably opponents: Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne

My brain only let me deal with those two guys, and sure enough we got Bourne. The match was fine, but this is one of those situations where we need to observe that the problem isn’t the brand separation, the problem is that they cast brands based on roles they need filled. Bourne is “guy who can wrestle Dolph Ziggler but not beat him”. Kofi is “guy who can wrestle Dolph Ziggler and sometimes beat him”. Also, “guy who f**king constantly wrestles Dolph Ziggler”. Why not let Ziggler beat Ryder? Or Kozlov? Or think outside the box, put him in there with Michael McGillicutty or one of your NXT rookies. Let him Zig Zag Silent Rage, whose rage was so silent this week we couldn’t even find him. In real sports they don’t just pair up the teams that hate each other and make them play 400 times. Sometimes the Cubs play the Diamondbacks and it doesn’t matter, but it still gives one of them a win. It gives the Diamondbacks a win. You know what I’m saying.

Worst (But Secretly Best, Shh): Derrick Bateman On Raw

There were two great things that happened during the backstage celebration for Rey Mysterio’s title win: The first is a cameo by NXT rookie Derrick Bateman, who earns a “worst” here for two reasons:

1) I like wrestlers who aren’t given a “push” on television, but as soon as they show up I declare them “stale” and “misused” and stop cheering for them.
2) He got covered in alcohol, but at no point flipped out and turned over a table.

Although I guess that only happens when he’s wearing sweet USA zubaz pants. Here’s the first of many Worsts for Derrick Bateman on Raw.

Best: Chris Masters TRYING To Be On Raw

The second great thing was Chris Masters being involved in the handshake line for Mysterio, then wandering around to the back to peek his head in and desperately try to stay on camera during the interview. Watch him back there, he’s amazing. I just wanted him to break out a Joe Swanson YEAH REY MYSTERIO AWRIGHT in the middle of Josh’s question. Also, how hilariously left over were the people back there to wish Mysterio well? I watch this all the time and even I didn’t recognize a couple of them. I expected Braden Walker and “Savannah” to come around the corner. If Tyler Recks gets to be back there, but they don’t have a spot for Ryan Braddock? Where’s Eric Escobar? That guy in the vest, was that Eric Escobar?

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